Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stormwater success stories on EPA website

Environment News Network: A collection of stormwater success stories on a new U.S. EPA website are intended to inform and educate stakeholders about the benefits of developing pollution reduction budgets, called total maximum daily loads, TMDLs, to protect and restore water quality in their own watersheds. The site provides both sound byte fact sheets that are one to two pages long, as well as technical fact sheets of four to five pages, that are representative of TMDLs prepared by states around the country.

For example, oyster lovers and residents near Virginia Beach, Virginia remember a time when oysters from the Lynnhaven Bay watershed were a delicacy served to dignitaries. But high bacteria levels in the Lynnhaven Bay watershed forced the Virginia Health Department to shut down almost all of the shellfish areas for decades, until recently.

Implementing the Lynnhaven Bay, Broad Bay, and Linkhorn Bay fecal coliform TMDL for shellfish areas has helped to reduce bacteria levels. Management actions targeted sources of bacteria such as boating activities, on-site sewer systems, agricultural areas, and pet waste to slash bacteria levels. As a result, Lynnhaven Bay watershed shellfish areas are reopening and Lynnhaven oysters are returning as an edible, marketable natural resource on local restaurant menus.

The new website offers fact sheets illustrating how stakeholders can get involved in identifying and cleaning up waters that fail to meet their state's water quality standards. The fact sheets show what benefits people can enjoy with cleaner waters, such as enhancements to recreation or better quality drinking water supplies….

Map of the Lynnhaven River area of northern Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States. Map from United States Geological Survey

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